May 17 is the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT). The date was selected to commemorate the World Health Organization’s decision in 1990 to remove homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses. Since then, the LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex) community has come a long way; but we still face many health, economic, and social barriers, as well as alarmingly high levels of hate crimes.
At the Gay & Lesbian Network, we see first-hand how homophobia and transphobia negatively impacts the health and well-being of LGBTI people. We ensure optimum commitment and services for the upliftment and recognition of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and Intersex (LGBTI) community through creative programmes that foster equality, respect and acceptance.
Here are five ways you can participate in the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia to make sure it continues to get better for the LGBT community:
1. Spread the Word through Social Media:
Share this post and show your support on Facebook. Tweet your support for the LGBT community using #IDAHOT, #GLN and @GLNkzn. Write your own blog about IDAHOT and share it on Tumblr. Snap a photo of yourself holding a pro-LGBT sign for Instagram. Make equality go viral!
2. Give Back to the LGBTI Community:
Donate to your favourite LGBTI causes. As a NPO we rely on donations and sponsorship. This money goes towards the upliftment and recognition of the LGBTI community. The Gay & Lesbian Network is a registered non-profit organisation which is Tax exempt and has Section 18A(1) status. Every cash donation you make to the Network is TAX DEDUCTIBLE in terms of Section 18A(1) of the Income Tax Act of 1962, as amended.
GLN banking details:
Bank: First National Bank (FNB)
Account name: Gay & Lesbian Network
Account number: 62100583394
Branch name: Bank Street
Branch code: 220825
3. Share Your Story:
Let others know how homophobia or transphobia has affected you or your loved ones. You can help your friends and family understand how anti-LGBTI bias negatively impacts people they know and love. We have a number of counsellors who are trained on LGBTI related issues. For free counselling call our helpline on 086 033 3331 or SMS HELP to 079 891 3036 and we will call you back (Helpline operates from 9am – 4pm Monday to Friday). At GLN, we are also always looking for positive stories. If you have one, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Listen to Someone Else’s Story:
Homophobia and transphobia impact us all differently. If you are a cisgender man or woman, educate yourself about the challenges faced by trans members of our community. If you are an LGBTI adult, do something that benefits the youth in our community—who face much higher levels of harassment and homelessness than their heterosexual peers. As we work to open other people’s minds, we should see where there’s room to grow ourselves. We have a number of awareness campaigns that you may want to take part in. For more information, please email email@example.com
5. Take pride in our rainbow nation and celebrate diversity:
The Gay & Lesbian Network has some great events coming up this year! The highlight of our calendar is the Pink Mynah Festiva! 100% of the monies raised benefit our work for upliftment of the LGBTI community. We are also looking for sponsors for this event, so if you would like to let the world know that you believe in equal human rights, please contact us for more information on how you can get involved.
And remember, you can take these steps against homophobia and transphobia not just today but every day! For more information visit our website at www.gaylesbian.org.za or call our office on (+27) 033 342 61 65.